Number 7 – With or Without You (춘희막이)

The bond shared between Maggi and Chun-hee is as heart-warming as it is unbreakable

Easily the best film to emerge from this year’s Jeonju Independent Film Festival, documentary With or Without You is a fascinating exploration of a former aspect of Korean culture – the taking of a second wife/surrogate mother in order to continue a bloodline. Director Park Hyuk-ji’s film follows two women living in the countryside who endured such a relationship when they were young, and who now as elderly women have formed an inseparable bond. Magg-i’s explanation of why the family brought Chun-hee, who has the mental age of a seven year old, is highly emotive while revealing the legacy such cultural forms continue to have on contemporary Koreans. Shockingly overlooked in favour of Alice in Earnestland for Jeonju’s Grand Prize, Without or Without You is an enlightening treat.

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